07 September 2017
Turkey has increasingly looked to Iraq’s Turkmen groups as an ally in a country dominated by non-state actors
- Turkey continues to maintain its opposition to the Kurdish independence in Iraq, which senior government figures say has the potential to further destabilise the region
- Turkey has sought closer links with Iraqi Turkmen groups as it seeks to bolster its influence in the region and curtail growing Iranian and Kurdish influence
- However, Iraqi Turkmen groups are increasingly split over their attitude to Turkey
There are estimated to be between 500,000 and 3 million Turkmen in Iraq, making them the third largest ethnic group in the country. Predominantly located in northern Iraq, the community has its origins in various waves of Turkic migration to the Mesopotamian region, the largest of which took place in the 16th century under the Ottoman Empire.
Following the Empire’s collapse at the end of the First World War, the new Turkish Republic used the Turkmen population to argue for the inclusion within its borders of territory as far south as Kirkuk…
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